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Thames Tideway names preferred bidders

Key players in the UK construction market - Costain, Laing O’Rourke, Vinci, Bachy, Ferrovial, Bam Nuttall, Morgan Sindall and Balfour Beatty - were this week named as preferred bidders for Thames Tideway Tunnel’s £2.3bn civils contracts.

Thames Tideway Tunnel has selected three joint ventures (JVs) to build the west, central and east sections of the overall £4.2bn tunnel scheme.
The winning bidders are as follows:

  • West BMB JV (Bam Nuttall, Morgan Sindall and Balfour Beatty)
  • Central FLO JV (Ferrovial Agroman and Laing O’Rourke)
  • East CVB JV (Costain, Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche)

The successful bidders beat off competition from Bank Station Upgrade contractor Dragados - which had partnered up with Samsung to bid for the £300M to £500M West section. They also fought off a Skanska/Bilfinger/Razel Bec JV bid for the £600M to £950M central section (see box).

Thames Tideway Tunnel chief executive Andy Mitchell said the bidders were selected for their ability to deliver the scale of work.

“We have selected our preferred bidders to work on the three main works packages because we have absolute faith in their ability to carry out these major pieces of work safely, considerately and sustainably and we are looking forward to working with them to offer the thousands of jobs that will help make this project a reality,” he said.

“This is not just an engineering project, this is about reconnecting London with its river by cleaning it up and making it something that is integral to our city, for the growing population, thriving businesses and to increase leisure uses. This is a unique opportunity to be involved in improving London’s environment and economy and we’re very excited for what the future holds.”

The Thames Tideway Tunnel project will create more than 4,000 direct sustainable jobs, and another 5,000 jobs through the supply chain.

The contracts are expected to be formally awarded in the summer, when the investors who will be chosen to finance and deliver the project as the Infrastructure Provider (IP), are announced. The IP will hold its own license from regulator Ofwat. Thames Water, the government and Ofwat are working together to finalise the financing arrangements.

The six year construction phase is set to begin next year. The 7.2m diameter, 25km long and up to 66m deep tunnel will have three main drive sites and will be formed with tunnel boring machines.

The tunnel route starts around 30m underground at the Acton Storm Tanks in West London, and descends as it moves to the Central drive site at Carnwath Road Riverside and the East site of Chambers Wharf until it reaches a depth of around 66m at Abbey Mills Pumping Station in east London.

The 1.6M.m3 capacity tunnel broadly follows the alignment of the River Thames to Limehouse before heading north east to Abbey Mills.

It is designed with shafts that will intercept the worst affected combined sewer overflows that force tens of millions of tonnes of sewage into the capital’s river each year.

Who was in the running

Original shortlist (announced in October 2013) and preferred bidders
West (£300M to £500M)
Bam Nuttall, Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall JV (preferred bidder); Costain, Vinci, Bachy JV; Dragados, Samsung JV; Ferrovial Agroman, Laing O’Rourke JV
Central (£600M to £950M)
Ferrovial Agroman, Laing O’Rourke JV (preferred bidder); Bam Nuttall, Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall JV; Costain, Vinci, Bachy JV; Skanska, Bilfinger, Razel Bec JV
East (£500M to £800M)
Costain, Vinci, Bachy JV (preferred bidder); Bam Nuttall, Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall JV; Bechtel, Strabag JV; Bouygues; Hochtief, Murphy JV.

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